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May 23, 2022

1/21/2022 10:52:00 AM
Stanek, Mary Magdeline (Winkers)

Mary Magdeline (Winkers) Stanek of Muscoda passed away Thursday January 13, 2022, at the age of 82. She was born on July 2, 1939 to Earl and Jeanette (McGill) Winkers in Highland, WI. She attended Farmer's Ridge School and graduated from Highland High School in 1957. She then attended Richland County Teacher's College and graduated in 1959. She later obtained Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees at UW-Platteville in Elementary Education.

She married the love of her life Bill Stanek of Muscoda, Wisconsin on May 30, 1961, refusing to marry him until she had completed her teaching education and was gainfully employed as a teacher. He was a dairy farmer and they became the proud parents of two sons, Nicholas and Gary. Sadly, he preceded her in death in 2020 after a long battle with Lewy Body Disease, and she was his devoted caretaker until the end.

Mary was the consummate school teacher. She started her career for Highland Schools at various one-room schools beginning at Pine Knob School in 1959, and finishing at her childhood school Farmer's Ridge School. She was then employed by Muscoda Schools (later Riverdale) starting in 1964 at Avoca Elementary School, and continuing until her retirement in 2001 after 41 years of teaching elementary grades 4-6. She helped install novel teaching methods and received numerous accolades for her devotion to student learning. She served as the building principal for the Avoca School until its closure in 1996. As an adjunct faculty member of UW Platteville, her classroom served as a favored training site for student interns. She was a mentor and guide for numerous student teachers who now have their own very successful teaching careers.

After her retirement, she continued to substitute teach at Riverdale Schools and she would travel to other schools to observe and mentor student teachers. In her desire to help fellow teachers, she was instrumental in the development of the Riverdale Communities Education Foundation which provides grants to teachers. These grants help fund the creation of learning opportunities for students that would not normally exist without such funds.

Following her retirement from teaching, she developed a new passion for service in the Avoca-Blue River-Muscoda Lions Club. She held various club offices including president of the club. She was a guiding force for the creation of the Riverdale Leo Club with its aim of getting young people involved in the community service of the Lions. Having suffered from diabetes for many years, she was heavily involved in the diabetes outreach of the Lions Club and she helped support the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt. In 2016 she received the prestigious Marvin Jones Fellow Award for her service.

She and Bill loved to travel. They visited most of the USA states, Canada and Mexico, and traveled extensively throughout Europe. She was fiercely proud of her Irish heritage and visited Ireland five times with family and friends. She was an active member of St John Nepomuc Catholic Church, Castle Rock Ridge serving in various capacities for the Catholic Council of Women and the Grant Deanery of the Madison Diocese.

Mary is survived by sons Nick (Nita) of Madison and Gary (Kris Washburn) of Muscoda; grandchildren Jarrett (friend Tabitha Faull) of Highland, Tabitha (friend Will Cleary) of Madison, and Jordan (friend Christiane Laskowski) of Racine. She is further survived by her brothers Wilson Winkers of Muscoda and Bill Winkers (Bonnie) of Spring Green, and her sister Dianne (John S.) Kohout of Montfort. Additional survivors include sisters-in-law Ann McGuire of Pardeeville and Dorothy (Richard) Hackl of Muscoda, and brother-in-law John (Helen) Stanek of Muscoda; numerous nieces and nephews; other relatives and an extended circle of friends.

In addition to her husband Bill, she was preceded in death by her parents and her father- and mother-in-law John and Mary C. Stanek; sisters-in-law Alice Winkers, Mary (John V.) Kohout, Alice (John) McGuire; brothers-in-law Joseph, Carl, Paul, Francis and Donald Stanek.

Visitation for Mary will be held Friday January 28, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Godager-Pratt Funeral Home in Muscoda. Additional visitation will be held Saturday January 29, 2022 at Saints Anthony and Philip Catholic Church in Highland from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Funeral service will follow with Rev. Jim Murphy officiating. The family asks that all attendees wear masks and observe all guidelines to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19. In lieu of flowers, memorials should be given to the Riverdale Communities Education Foundation or the Avoca-Blue River-Muscoda Lions Club.

The Pratt Funeral and Cremation Service is assisting the family with their arrangements.

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